Should private lives of public officials be off limits to public scrutiny?
Do public officials have a greater responsibility to live moral private lives than the average person? David Patraeus made poor private life decisions. Does that say something about his judgment? Was it John McCain who divorced his wife while she had cancer. Is that our business? Clinton entertained Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office. There are examples across all political persuasions. Their high profile possessions are what made them "enticing." Don't they understand that?
Never. Public officials take on enormous power and perks. As they do, they make themselves vulnerable to any number of corrupting situations.
Personally, it is sad that Gen. Patraeus did no more than any other human being. Professionally, however, the rules of his job did not allow that behavior.
He did a fine thing by resigning and, if there are no more bizarre, silly stories coming out, this will blow over.. He had an outstanding career and this should not wipe all of that accomplishment away.
I believe people have a right to privacy, but when you are in a position that behavior may effect not only your job performance but might also compromise others and your ability to perform your duties you should expect to be called on it. The thought of the head of the CIA or a General playing cyber grab ass or doing it in real-time at work makes me think their minds could not be on their jobs and that could be dangerous for those working for them and for national security, so no they can't expect a blind eye from the public.
All our lives are under public scrutiny, we, the majority of people, don't have affairs that the media and gutter press want to publish stories about though.
Would we hold ourselves more moral than public figures because our ordinary lives help us cover up our indiscretions?
I think we do.
What Patraus, Clinton, and many other public figures have done is no different to what public figures and other human beings have done for all humman history. Took a risk for what they felt was a reasonable payoff.
No we the people cannot demand higher morals from leaders as long as we the people allow our indiscretions to be annonymous.
Thank you Bretsuki! What do you think about "with position comes responsibility?" If a person with sensitive information is blackmailed, the country could be compromised.
I would argue that we all have responsibility. We all carry information which can be used by an enemy of our countries. Holding another to higher values only hurts ourselves in the end. Plus there is a double standard at play at all levels.
It depends how sensitive and big the public official's position is.If Barack Obama is seen cavorting with some bombshell woman besides (Michelle )and drinking champagne on a yacht in St Tropez while the country is in turmoil, that just doesn't fly with the public, does it? But if it is my small time councilor from somewhere in neck of the woods doing the same thing ,chances are ,that it might not even make it to the local paper.I bet the local townfolks will just shrug their shoulders and say "WHO CARES?
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